Everyday Adventures in Havachon Heaven

The Good, Crazy, & Adorable Life of One Havachon Puppy

Daisy’s follow-up vet visit

First off, I can’t tell you how moved we all are¬†at the outpouring of prayers, positive thoughts, and support we received from everyone. You all mean so much to us and it really helped to feel that support. The pet blogging community is the best in the world. ūüôā

I don’t know which of our lovely¬†blog buddies told POTP about Daisy’s injury, but some wonderful person did and¬†they put her up on their site. Whoever you are, we send you lots of love and thanks for being so thoughtful. We met some beautiful new friends through POTP, and we visit the site¬†every day to give back the strength and love we received. If you haven’t been to POTP (Power Of The Paw), you can click the link to get there and help other pets and pet parents through difficult times.

Well, we have good news, okay news, and not-so-great (but not terrible!) news from the follow-up visit with our vet.

The good news: Daisy is out of the woods with the paralysis risk. However, if this happens again, she’ll face the same risk. The vet said he looks for any signs of forward movement and no signs of worsening, and he was pleased that she looked slightly improved and definitely not worse, but not enough to make him smile (that’s his tell!) except when he was sweet-talking her. Also, her attitude is much improved and she doesn’t look scared all the time – only when she feels pain. She’s taking an interest again and actually chewed her Nylabone today! She was also able to eat¬†by herself from her food bowl instead of having to be hand-fed. ūüôā

I couldn't take a picture of Daisy when she was at her worst because I don't want to remember her that way. But here she is yesterday - still not her little sprightly Daisy face, but better than before.

I couldn’t take a picture of Daisy when she was at her worst because I don’t want to remember her that way. But here she is yesterday – still not her little sprightly Daisy face, but better than before. This is one of her long lie-down breaks she takes when she goes for a quick “taking care of business” trip¬†outside.

The okay news: She has a slipped disc that’s causing most of the back pain. She’s walking better but still taking very tentative steps and can’t roll onto her back – sometimes she can lie on her side, other times she can’t. When DD or DH come into the house and she gets excited, I have to hold her back but she still starts yiping. I think her muscles must tense with excitement and that causes her pain.

"I remember the days when I could romp over grass tufts..."

“I remember the good ol’ days when I could romp over grass tufts…”

The not-so-great (but not terrible!) news: She will have this problem for the rest of her life, and it is considered a degenerative condition. She’s not allowed to do any more jumping – since her leg injury, we’ve only let her jump up onto things and not down specifically because we wanted to prevent back injury from the impact of jumping down. Guess that strategy didn’t work! So DH is building another ramp for her (he already built one for the car) to get up and down off the couch, and we’ll be watching her closely. We’ve had our couches barricaded since her ACL/meniscus tear anyway, so eventually we’ll just open up one small spot and put the ramp there when we allow her up with us. But that won’t be for quite a while.

We will be checking into acupuncture to see if that will help. I’m just hoping that after this has passed, she’s not left with any pain and can run like a nut again. ūüôā

Our next follow-up vet appointment is in two weeks, and we’re hoping for a big smile from him then. Thank you all again for your prayers, kind messages and good wishes, we’re sure they helped Daisy improve, and they definitely helped us!


Daisy needs your positive thoughts

We had a very scary Saturday. It all started when Daisy let out a yipe when nobody was touching her. Then she did it again a little later. And she was walking a bit carefully, not her usually rompy, frolicking little self.

Then it all hit the fan. She was up on the sofa with us, and she gave another little yipe. DD touched her lightly on the back, and all hell broke loose.

She cried out and kept crying, making her way awkwardly across the couch to me Рshe always comes to me when she needs comforting.

She tried to sit on my lap but couldn’t get comfortable. She was trembling, whimpering, and couldn’t position herself.

“Call the vet!” I yelled.

DD was on it. You see, I’m good at panicking, DD is good at taking action. After the crisis is over, we both fall apart.

Anyway, our wonderful vet told us to bring her in even though his schedule was packed. He usually closes at 2:00 on Saturdays and he was backed up until at least 3:00, but he still let us come in.

He tested her neck and legs Рall fine. Then he pressed along her spine and at one point she screamed.

“It’s her back,” he said. “She has back pain.”

He told us that it’s common for small dogs to get back pain between the ages of 4 and 6 – Daisy is 5. However, it can go either of two ways – either it’ll get better over the course of two MONTHS or it’ll get worse, which would be really bad. I don’t even want to think about that, don’t want to talk about that outcome. It just can’t happen. It just can’t.

He said if her legs start to wobble we have to call him immediately; that would be extremely bad. He wants to see her again on Tuesday morning; it’s never good when a vet wants to do a follow-up in three days.

She can’t go for walks, just a short, slow¬†trip outside to take care of business and then back in again. When we got home and took her out a few hours later, after just a few¬†minutes she had to take a 15 minute break to lie down in the grass. It was heartbreaking.

The vet¬†gave her a shot to help take the edge off¬†the pain and gave us two meds for her, one of which is pretty strong. She was crying when she walked, but once¬†the meds kicked in, she could¬†walk gingerly without constant crying. She whimpers here and there, screeches occasionally, and walks like a cat with its back arched, very slowly and awkwardly. Mostly she’s just lying absolutely motionless for hours, very occasionally looking up at us with big scared eyes.

If I could take the pain from her and put it into myself, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s so painful to watch such an innocent little pup – or any animal –¬†suffer so much. She doesn’t understand, and she’s scared. Understandably. We’re wrecks, also understandably.

We’re asking our blog buddies¬†for your prayers, positive thoughts, messages to the Universe, or whatever you believe in to pull her through this and let it be something she can recover from and not the worst case scenario.

Because we just couldn’t deal with that.

We’ll keep you updated as the days go by.



The Cone of Shame is GONE!! Finally!! Saturday Daisy had her follow-up vet visit and he was shocked at how much better her ears are. We can finally stop putting that disgusting oily medicine in her ears every night. We still have to finish up the pills over the next several weeks though.

What was our first order of business? GIVING HER A BATH!! This dirty dog hasn’t had a bath in THREE WEEKS because of her ear problem.

Here she is before the bath, all overgrown with oily ears.

Ugh. My fluffy ears are all flat! And I'm overgrown like a weed patch!

Ugh. My fluffy ears are all flat! And I’m overgrown like a weed patch!

I mean, take a look at these things!

I mean, take a look at these things!

Now she’s fluffy again….EXCEPT on her ears. DD shampooed them and shampooed them, but it’s going to take several washings to get all that oil out of her hair. Her ear flaps still look stringy. Ugh.

With my hair overgrown and my ears trimmed but still greasy, I look out of balance - my head looks too small for my fluffy, overgrown body!   I look like one of those "square sheep" in Americana paintings!

With my hair overgrown and my ears trimmed but still greasy, I look out of balance – my head looks too small for my fluffy, overgrown body! I look like one of those “square sheep” in Americana paintings!

We switched to a hypoallergenic shampoo and are looking into making our own to eliminate all those chemicals.

But here’s the downside….take a look at the horrible word on this new medication the vet gave us:

We have to use this medication in Daisy's ears twice a week for the rest of her life!

We have to use this medication in Daisy’s ears twice a week for the rest of her life!

DH’s boss, who lives near us, uses a holistic vet who has worked wonders with his dog. Although our vet is excellent and I wouldn’t consider leaving him, I plan to take Daisy to the holistic vet just to see if she can give us something more natural to ward off these awful allergic reactions in the future. Fingers crossed!


We’re part of Thursday Barks and Bytes Blog Hop! Thanks to blog hosts 2 Brown Dawgs and Heart Like a Dog!


Daisy’s Silly Cone Impersonations

Daisy seems to have resigned herself to¬†wearing the cone. She’s being a really good sport about it and even waits patiently while DD puts the cone on her.

Along with her positive attitude, she’s entertaining us with some fun “impersonations”. Like….

Daisy the Funnel

Just drop a carrot slice down here, I have a great funnel system to catch all food!

Just drop a carrot slice down here, I have a great funnel system to catch all food!

Daisy the Headless Horseman

Heehee! You can't see me!

Heehee! You can’t see me!

Daisy the Ghostly Glow



Daisy the Collector
(I don’t even want to tell you the things the velcro on that cone picks up and drags around the house!)

Where’d that sock go???

Sound Amplifier Daisy

Hey! Now I can pinpoint exactly where that birdie tweet is coming from!

Hey! Now I can pinpoint exactly where that birdie tweet is coming from!

Daisy the Bulldozer¬†– I don’t have a video of this, but Daisy uses her cone to crash her way through anything and anyone! If one of us is standing in a doorway and Daisy wants to get through, she plows between our leg and the door frame, gets jammed up, and just keeps pushing forward like a wind-up toy with every ounce of little Havachon strength until we move aside for her. She does the same thing with furniture pieces that are too close to allow her cone through. Maybe I should call her Daisy the Cone Bully!



The Cone of Shame Returns….

What is going on in this family?! First I sprained my back, and yesterday one of¬†my fillings started disintegrating in chunks….and my dentist can’t see me until tomorrow. I HATE needles and I know I’m in for a series – UGH.Plus I don’t know how my back will handle that chair of his. AND – now Daisy is back in the Cone of Shame! GEEZ!! Is there a target on us?!

Over the past week, we noticed Daisy was scratching at her left ear a little more than usual and shaking her head insanely like she was making a milkshake inside it. She’d just gotten her ears plucked a week ago, and that usually causes her to scratch and shake for a couple of days, but not to excess like this.

This time, she didn’t stop. But it did lessen.

Until yesterday.

After her morning walk yesterday, the shaking and scratching went into overdrive. She was shaking her head so hard that her ears were flapping like crazy –¬†they sounded like a helicopter coming in for a landing. She was also scratching at the inside, which alarmed me the most.

Do I really have to wear this thing again?!

Do I really have to wear this thing again?!

We had looked inside with a flashlight during the week and didn’t notice anything wrong. But yesterday¬†the inside looked reddish-purple and raw.

Fortunately, DD was still home, so she arranged to work from home to take Daisy to the vet, since I can’t manage that yet (my first trial car ride over the weekend didn’t go so well…). The dear man took her in almost immediately. When he looked inside her ear, DD said he made a very disconcerting sound. Diagnosis: severe spring allergies made worse by the plucking. He didn’t use the word “infection” but I think she was close to getting one. Apparently it’s worse in the left ear but has started in the right as well.

This medicine sure makes me pant a lot!

This medicine sure makes me pant a lot!

So he gave her a shot and put some gunky stuff in her ear, which we have to do every day. This isn’t going to be fun; she really doesn’t like it, and I can only imagine how uncomfortable it must feel to her to have her ears filled with oily gunk. And now her ears are all oily on the outside too. Ick. Plus she has pills to take as well, though she’ll enjoy them since they’ll be in peanut butter – the thin silver lining. ūüôā

If these things continue, she’ll have to have some allergy testing done. I’ve never had a dog with so many issues!

We had to resort to the cone to stop her from scratching her¬†ears. Poor little thing – so sweet about letting us do what we have to, but I’m sure she’s not happy about it at all!

So….is there an expiration date on bad luck????


Daisy, the Havachon Nurse

S-l-o-w-l-y but steadily, I can see small improvements in my back and the quality of my days. Little things like being able to move each leg an inch more forward when walking, taking more of a step rather than a shuffle, and slowly (and weirdly) getting myself down onto and up off the floor rather than DH having to lower and lift me up are all good signs of improvement. Where I saw a dark permanent dead end three¬†weeks ago, I’m now seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. ūüôā

Daisy is the one member of our little family who is happy that my recovery will take so long. For one thing, she has company all day, every day.

Even better, she has a floor buddy several times a day. Lots of cuddling and snuggling as well as a 109-pound cushion to lie on.

Yep, that roll underneath the blanket is me!

Yep, that roll underneath the blanket is me!

As soon as I get into floor position, she hops on top of me to make sure I’m okay. And this is what I see….

Helloooo, Mommy! Just checking to make sure you're okay!

Helloooo, Mommy! Just checking to make sure you’re okay!

Here, she demonstrates how to keep a floor bed warm for her mommy.

Can we keep this here even after you're all healed?

Can we keep this here even after you’re all healed?

And here’s where she discovered that the doubled-over “pillow” area of the sleeping bag is even cushier than the rest of it. The softer the better for our little girl!

Ooooo, cushy-soft!

Ooooo, cushy-soft! You don’t need this right now, do you?

Thank you all for your good wishes! Your positive thoughts have helped and your messages have kept me company as I live these weeks “off the grid”, so to speak!


A Snowy Easter Surprise

Tuesday morning, just a few days before Easter, we woke up to another snowfall!

During one of my slow strolls outdoors over the previous weekend, this was what our daffodil patch looked like:

Happy spring daffodils in our front yard.

Happy spring daffodils in our front yard.

And here it is Tuesday morning:

Unhappy frozen daffodils.

Unhappy frozen daffodils.

Kind of hard to believe those pics are only a few days apart!

It seems so incongruous to see spring buds on a frozen tree:

spring snow 4.14 2

Now, I know most people here in the northeast are talking about how tired they are of all the snow we’ve had this winter, but I’m not one of them. As all my blog buddies know, I LOVE snow and would live in a year-round autumn-winter climate if there was one – with, of course, an annual¬†3-month break for spring to plant my gardens and give the trees enough leaves so they could change color and fall again! I could do without summer altogether. (Don’t throw rotten tomatoes at me!)

I discovered that I can’t take walks around my yard anymore because the other day, my heel hit a slight depression¬†in the grass, which normally I wouldn’t even have noticed. But with my back still so sensitive, it felt like a bolt of lightning went through my lower spine. That set me back a bit pain-wise; then that evening I sneezed twice, which caused the pain to skyrocket. Apparently more muscles in the body contract during a sneeze than I realized!

So I’m back indoors now (which is fine, Friday was a whole 39 degrees!) and will attempt another venture outdoors this week – but this time, I’ll only walk on even sidewalk surfaces! And of course, my little sweetie will come with me…if I can pry her off my floor bed!

Daisy, cozy in my floor blankets, with the Guilty Gate behind her.

Daisy, cozy in my floor blankets, with the Guilty Gate behind her.


Down But Not Out….Completely….

First of all, thank you to everyone who has expressed concern over our absence in the blogosphere. We missed everyone and it’s so nice to know that our wonderful little community here cares so much.

Originally I knew I wouldn’t be able to blog for a couple of weeks due to another sudden influx of work – that’s one thing about freelancing, you never know when every client you have is going to dump¬†projects on¬†you simultaneously.

Well, that went fine, I just worked around the clock to get everything done on time. But The Big One was yet to come.

Ever since Daisy tore her ACL and meniscus, we’ve tried to prevent her from jumping on sofas and chairs, and especially off them because of the impact to her body. The surgeon and vet both told us that any dog who has this sort of injury is very likely to have it happen again. In fact, the vet who was on call the night after Daisy came home told us that her small dog did have this injury twice and that we should expect it if she continues to do the same thing that caused the injury.

So we put up a baby gate between the kitchen and family room to stop her from jumping on the sofas. When we’re going to be in there, we pick her up for cuddles and lift her off again when we leave. She’s managed to slip through our vigilant precautions a couple of times, but with the gate up, her evil little plans are thwarted. ūüėČ We keep all kitchen and dining room chairs tucked under the table or tilted against the table to make them inaccessible, and we have all kinds of stuff blocking the living room sofa and chairs. We’ve even blocked off the space under our beds to stop her from army-crawling underneath in case she hurts herself under there – how could we ever reach her?

Anyway, several days ago Daisy was extremely naughty. After taking her for her morning walk/run, she was eating her breakfast in the kitchen and I was in the family room with the gate up between us. I looked up and suddenly saw her in Poop Position! I screamed, “NO DAISY!” and ran to get her. In my wild Olympic-style hurdle of the gate, my back foot caught on the top of the gate and the gate, which wasn’t firmly in place, came along with me. I couldn’t catch my balance because the gate was stuck on my foot; I knew I was going down.

But on my wild flight, my back must have arched suddenly and I heard a loud CRACK and felt a tremendous pain in my lower back. I hit the floor and a searing pain shot across my lower back relentlessly. I was just like that annoying commercial – I’d fallen and I couldn’t get up.

Naturally, I was alone in the house. It was early in the morning but DH was already out and DD was away for the weekend. Of course!

Fortunately, I’d landed next to the kitchen chair where my purse was and I was able to tilt the purse so my cell phone fell out. I called DH, who was only 10 minutes away, and he came charging home like a knight in shining armor. He’s a strong guy, very muscular, and was able to slo-o-owly lift my 110 lb. body off the floor. It was extremely painful. Since I couldn’t walk, sit, or lie in a way that lessened the pain, he insisted we call the paramedics to take me to the hospital, which scared me to death. I hate hospitals and I hate needles even more, and I was so sure I’d need back surgery.

But he was right, he had to call the paramedics. Out came the police, followed about 10 minutes later by the paramedics. Now, you have to understand that I’m more of a private person and don’t like to be the center of attention, so this was NOT a good situation for me. But the paramedics and police were SO incredibly nice, it really helped me deal with the situation.

So there I was, on our first gorgeous spring day, strapped to a board, choked by a neck brace, and tied to the stretcher like a mummy.

AND I HADN’T HAD MY MORNING SHOWER YET. I looked like a wreck! I think my embarrassment level equaled my pain level!

Anyway,¬†during my 4-hour ER stay, they did x-rays and other tests and determined that, thank God, my spine and spinal cord weren’t affected and the cracking sound was most likely two or three vertebrae crunching together from the abnormal backward arching, but fortunately they didn’t get damaged. The upshot was that it’s a back sprain and will take 2-3 months to heal completely. Yes, MONTHS. Ack!! They also said if I didn’t have any improvement in 2-3 days, I needed to see an orthopedic doctor for an MRI. Fortunately we happen to have a good one who operated on DH’s shoulder last year.

But I am seeing improvements. I’m still extremely limited and can’t go out. I just stopped taking the pain killers and anti-inflammatories today, so maybe I’ll come out of this legal-drug-induced stupor. These meds have me sleeping most of the day and dopey the rest. Ugh.

Daisy keeps gazing at me from afar with big soulful eyes. It’s not her fault that her mommy was stupid enough¬†to vault the gate (though I’ve been doing it ever since her surgery without incident, but I guess it was just a matter of time before one of us took a header).

So DD and DH are taking turns working from home to babysit me. DH has to lower me to the floor for my naps and lift me back up again. Believe me, I appreciate to no end how much my little family is pitching in to help me, but I’m an independent sort, so I’m anxious to do things on my own again. And that’s what they’re most worried about – that I might try to do too much too soon.

Then I got to thinking that we’ve had quite a run within a year’s time: first DH had his shoulder surgery, then Daisy had her ACL/meniscus surgery, and now I had this accident – poor DD is worried that she’s next!

And that, my dear blog friends, is my sad tale of woe. I’m now off for my first 3-hour nap of the day – I can’t wait for these meds to wear off!

Hope you’re all having a better spring than I am! ūüôā


Dog Not Eating? It Could Be Acid Stomach!

We spent part of the holidays out of state visiting family that live 1200 miles away, and, of course, we took Daisy with us. She was quite happy spending two days each way in the car relaxing on Big Blue in the back seat snuggled up next to DD, and she only asked for water/potty breaks every 3-4 hours, so she was a good little passenger.

I'm a happy pup as long as I'm with my family...and on Big Blue!

I’m a happy pup as long as I’m with my family…and on Big Blue!

She was able to find several comfortable positions for her leg, even though she was restricted to some degree by the car harness and seat belt.

Yep, this is a good snoozing position.

Yep, this is a good snoozing position.

No one could understand how I was comfortable using the seat belt as a headrest, but I liked it!

No one could understand how I was comfortable using the seat belt as a headrest, but I liked it!

And she created her own little adventures, like when she took a ride on the luggage cart with DD:

Hey, this thing is pretty cool! What do you mean it's not made for doggies??

Hey, this thing is pretty cool! What do you mean it’s not made for doggies??

We were gone for 8 days, and for the first four days, she was fine. But by the fifth day, she was refusing to eat her normal dog food and she was throwing up a small amount of bile once a day.

We thought maybe it was the stress of travel that she wasn’t used to or maybe something strange she licked, but when we got back home, this continued. It was weird because she would go straight to her food and looked like she was interested in eating, but when she smelled it, she seemed to be repulsed by it – like she and it were opposite magnetic poles. She would sniff it two or three times as if trying to convince herself to eat, but each time, she’d pull her head back, stare at her food almost longingly, and then back away from it.

We had an appointment with the vet just a few days after returning home for another re-evaluation of her leg, so we told him what was happening with her eating.

We were shocked when he said it was most likely acid stomach that was brought on from travel! We know dogs like their routines and prefer to be in familiar surroundings, but we didn’t know that going without those two primary things for a week could cause a physical problem.

The solution was simple: one Pepcid AC tablet once a day, at the same time each day. We decided to give it to Daisy in the hour before her dinner (she was, as always, thrilled to get anything wrapped in cream cheese!). He was definitely right – she couldn’t eat her breakfast, but after the evening Pepcid, she had no trouble eating dinner. We did this for three days, and all was once again right in Daisyville. No more acid stomach.

So if your dog has been exposed to some major difference in their little world and you notice some type of gastrointestinal problem, acid stomach may be the answer. Always check with your vet first to be sure.


Driving Miss Daisy….Back to the Vet

We decided to make a follow-up vet appointment a couple weeks early because we’re concerned that Daisy isn’t using her leg much at all, even when she stands still to eat (yes, we got her back to acting like a dog at mealtime again!). The original vet said she should have been using it more and more over the past couple weeks.

She still holds that leg up high.

She still holds that leg up high.

So we went back to our own vet to get his assessment. He’s a wonderful doctor and we trust him completely. He’s so much more interested in his patients’ health that he told us he wouldn’t charge us for any and all surgery follow-up visits, even though his office didn’t do the surgery. And he held true to his word. ūüôā

The good news is that she’s healing well. Her reluctance to use her leg is normal because it’s still a bit painful at this point in the healing process.

He did a very detailed exam of her leg and said everything’s going perfectly. We can now allow her to walk all around the house, but she’s still not allowed to jump or run at all. This should be fun, especially since we tried it yesterday and she immediately got excited and hurt herself, even though we tried to keep her calm. This is NOT a low-key dog!

I guess they really are keeping my movements limited for my own good....

I guess they really are keeping my movements limited for my own good….

In another week, we’re to begin “physical therapy” in the form of taking her for walks in parks on uneven ground to force her to use the leg more for balance. Oh joy, more fun….especially in these freezing temps….

We asked him about the surgeon’s statement that Daisy has a 50/50 chance of developing arthritis in her youth because of this injury. He said that while it’s possible, the risk is far less than 50/50 because she’s a small dog of only 14 pounds, which reduces the tendency to contract arthritis from this injury. If she were to become overweight, that would be a different story. No problem there!

On the not-so-great-but-not-terrible side is that we have to put her back on painkillers in order to get her to use her leg more. Ten drops of a liquid med plus a quarter of the same painkiller she was on every day until we take her back to see him in another two weeks. Then he’ll make another assessment based on her progress at that point.

I guess I'll just keep hobbling along for now....

I guess I’ll just keep hobbling along for now….

But overall, it was a good report. We were very relieved to hear that her leg is healing well and normally. That will be our best Christmas present of all this year!


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